Meeting with David Beattie & Gerry Britton

Members of the Jags Trust Board met with David Beattie (Chairperson) and Gerry Britton (CEO) last night (30 July 2019).


David thanked The Trust for the support given to the proposal to change the composition of the Board of PTFC Ltd.

The JT noted that it seemed to have gone relatively quiet on the new ownership front and that much of the hype has died away ….. for the time being!

We were reassured that the Scottish Football authorities are going through a process of due diligence, exploring issues associated with inter league dual-ownership etc and that to do this properly does take time. David & Gerry confirmed this work was an ongoing and that the potential new ownership is still very much alive.


We discussed the business model proposed by the aspiring new owners, which has been tried and tested elsewhere, and it was felt that it had the potential to be “transformational for Thistle”.

David and Gerry brought us up to date with the other work carried out by the new Board over the last three weeks:

 Discussions had taken place with the administrative staff and Team Management re-roles, responsibilities and targets.

 The office has seen some familiar faces return. Essential work is being carried out by those with the necessary expertise and a suitable skill mix has been created.

 The development of Thistle’s training ground continues to be a “work in progress”.

 Information about the PTFC Charitable Trust was given and of the decision that they are the Clubs “chosen charity for season 2019-2020”.

The Charitable Trust has access to grants and through these are able to support amputee football; kids framed football; projects for those who face addiction issues or are homeless etc. The Beatson had been the previously chosen charity.

 Fan Engagement was being promoted through meetings with representatives of the two Supporters Trusts.

It was the Club’s hope that a closer working relationship between the two Supporters Trusts can be developed.

 General matters – Footfall during the Betfred Cup had increased; though Season Ticket and Hospitality uptake were marginally down by comparison with this stage of last season; The Centenary Fund is an ongoing fundraiser for the Club and offers an opportunity for members to win a car (twice a year) & cash prizes each month.

 Club Open Day Saturday 10 August 2019, 11 – 3:30pm - open training session of both the men’s and women’s teams and stalls. More details on the Club website.

The meeting and the nature of the discussions were viewed as positive by The Jags Trust and we look forward to re-establishing a closer working relationship with the new(ish) Board and to ongoing dialogue on matters of mutual interest and concern.

Board Statement

The Jags Trust, as indicated in the statement issued on Friday 05 July and updated on Monday 08 July following exchanges with PTFC Ltd, was subsequently approached by representatives of shareholders to discuss matters associated with the current and future operation of our Club. It should be noted at this stage, that while the current Board agreed to meet with the Trust, the CEO was at pains to point out that the Club has no shares and that it was not in discussions with any third party to sell them. He went on to refer to The Club’s statement earlier in the week, confirming that they were aware of all the speculation but not involved in any discussions. Finally, he suggested that, if we wanted information, the Club could not provide it and we should, as had already been our intention, speak with those associated with the potential change of ownership. A situation where the Board of a Football Club has no shareholding may not be unique, but it is certainly unusual and while the Jags Trust was aware of, and has long had concerns about, this situation, the CEO’s statement did put the value of discussions with the other party/parties at a higher premium. The Trust had further been aware of decisions taken by the Club in respect of terminating some positions and arguably weakening the infrastructure of PTFC, particularly in respect of financial controls and while prudence is admirable, there were concerns about whether or not some of these changes might, in fact, be false economies. Additionally, recent additions to the Board were considered curious and it was unclear what was being brought to the table. At this stage it must be stressed that utterly exempt from any criticism, implicit or explicit, of the operation of PTFC Ltd is Colin Weir. Colin, in the limited experience of the contact which representatives of the Trust have had with him, has impressed as a self-effacing, genuine individual who neither seeks the limelight nor grandiose titles but who – initially with Christine - has made a massive contribution to Partick Thistle which was, is and should continue to be respected. Since the rumours of a potential change of ownership first emerged, The Jags Trust has comprehensively researched the bona fides of those identified and a substantial document emerged from this process. The document explored (inter alia):

In the event of the change of ownership going ahead, it will be for the protagonists to put forward their plans for scrutiny by supporters but, on the basis of information available, The Trust came to the following conclusions:

• the perennial, and understandable fear of “asset stripping” was irrelevant in the context of this bid. The protagonists operate in the fiscal stratosphere when compared to the world we inhabit. Quite simply, the acquisition of a small area of polluted land, lying beside a canal and well below the water table, in the North-West of a city where brown field sites are available in abundance - makes no sense.

• For their business model to succeed, Thistle would have to succeed and not in the Championship! It follows, therefore, that returning to the Premiership where there is a degree of media exposure would be an essential, indeed minimal, prerequisite.

• In football, as in all sports, there are no guarantees, but you cannot stand still, and new ideas need to be tried. Hence the application of the Moneyball approach which will be measured by its success or otherwise in our game.

• In response to “Why Thistle?”, we identified several valid reasons: o The culture of football is ingrained in our country as one of the founders of the game and while we are currently punching well below our weight, there remains a reputational value which resonates within football o Though our lazy media may not like it, and our two neighbours will deny it, more people in Glasgow do not support Celtic and Rangers than do. Further, there are many parents who would be happy for their children to be associated with football but would not be sanguine about them being associated with some of the baggage which comes with supporting either.

There is an untapped reservoir of supporters for a Glasgow team offering a competitive side to follow. Not tens of thousands perhaps, but more than enough, when added to the core support, to sustain the infrastructure of a club whose playing resources were, at least partially, not reliant on generated income. o Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there are few places in the world of football where you can get so much for so little, as you can in Scotland. This is not cynicism, it is pragmatism! Getting Barnsley, for example, into the Premiership, playing in Europe and providing a platform which offers global exposure to young players would be a multi-million pound project. In Scotland, by comparison, similar objectives could be achieved for far less. Many people will be rolling their eyes at our naivete in even suggesting the possibility of a team which escaped relegation to the third tier of Scottish Football by the skin of their teeth, aspiring to a reappearance on the European stage, but if we do not have dreams we have nothing but mediocrity….or worse!

• Nothing is without risk and while we have earlier in this statement acknowledged the vast contribution made by the philanthropic Thistle supporting Colin Weir, the people behind the proposed change of ownership are a very different breed. Unlike so many who emerge from the shadows (and usually disappear back into them very quickly) they do not claim to have dreamed of nothing else but owning Patrick Thistle since they were first capable of conscious thought. They are hard-headed business people, not accustomed to failure and driven by the idea of creating a ladder of success which will bring them financial gains only by bringing success to the clubs in their portfolio. Thistle constitutes one rung on their ladder, and honesty forces us to recognise that it is, if not the bottom rung, then pretty close to it. Some have expressed concerns about us being a “feeder club”. What are we now, indeed what is every club in Scotland, and we mean EVERY Club? We could have young players of great talent coming to our club. We could enjoy their performances in the knowledge that their stay might be brief before they moved on to a higher level. But that stay would enhance the status of our Club and potentially bring some of the success that has been enjoyed in recent years by the likes of Livingston, St Mirren, Inverness Caley Thistle, St Johnstone etc – clubs which are, or at least should be, our peers. Discussions with persons associated with the proposal confirmed the conclusions referred to above and there followed consideration of how best to take this forward and of addressing concerns regarding the actions of some current members of the Board and some of those associated with them. It is not possible to go into detail since not merely confidentiality, but also potentially litigious issues could be involved. For these reasons, and as a consequence of time pressures, it was not possible to consult with the membership and thus Office Bearers of the Jags Trust were faced with the options of either taking an informed decision based on what was and is perceived as being in the best interests of our Club, or washing our hands of the matter and sitting on the side-lines at the risk that a potential boost for Partick Thistle could founder as a consequence of our timidity. The Board of The Trust felt that to abrogate their responsibilities and do nothing would be to betray the spirit of Save The Jags which led to the Trust being established. Therefore, taking cognizance of our own processes of due diligence, and after direct discussions with accredited representatives of those involved in the proposed transfer of ownership, we concluded that the positives outweighed the negatives by a significant margin and that The Trust should support moves to progress the bid. Consequently, the Board of the Trust backed a move to alter the composition of the Board of PTFC Ltd by removing Ms Low and Messrs Smillie and Robertson. We further agreed to support the return to the Board of Messrs Beattie, Springford, Gilfillan, and the appointment of David Kelly who was for many years Financial Controller at the Club until the post was deleted earlier this year. Given that the Jags Trust’s shares cannot be traded, we will have no locus in any subsequent transactions which are matters between individual shareholders and the parties behind the potential change of ownership, but we will have a voice! 2 To those shareholders who seek “only” a return of their investment, and that is not intended as a pejorative label, it gives them something back for what they have put in. For those, and there are few in that number who do not merit inclusion in this category, whose commitment to Partick Thistle goes beyond the monetary value of their investment, and who demonstrated that at times of our greatest need, it appears to open doors to a better future for Thistle than any could have dared to anticipate. The “only” interest that the Jags Trust has in this matter is in how it will impact on our Club. Some will disagree with our actions, our conclusions and the way which they came about. None should question our motivation. In a time when environmentalists are hinting at their potential ultimate extinction, there are still quite a few elephants in the Firhill room. How, for example, would the new owners’ scheme be implemented in a post-Brexit country which had removed freedom of movement either by direct action, or as a consequence of a no deal scenario? Readers will recollect that, prior to this element of the single market, players coming to the UK needed to be of “proven international quality”. Remember the hoops that Thistle had to jump through to sign Quinton Jacobs before he ultimately was adjudged to have met this criterion? Given the background of those involved, however, one cannot imagine that such scenarios have not already been considered and solutions created to overcome their consequences. As previously stated, there are no guarantees in sport, but this bid appears to offer, at the very worst, nothing which could be regarded as inferior to what we already face in the season ahead. It addresses the long-standing issue of having a Board without a controlling or even a significant shareholding. It offers the potential for the recruitment of a playing squad which, in terms of quality, would be well beyond our means. The necessity to be in the Scottish Premiership as soon as possible would focus the minds of new owners and guarantee the resources which would make such an aspiration achievable, though never guaranteed. In essence, the bid appears to offer hope where there was very little and potential for progress at a rate which could not otherwise be envisaged.

Jags Trust Board Statement - Update

Office Bearers of The Jags Trust (the trading name of The Partick Thistle Supporters Association) have been aware of the ongoing speculation regarding a potential takeover of our Club.

We have also read the statement recently released by PTFC Ltd.

After Save The Jags, the 1,000,000 B Shares allocated to The Jags Trust made supporters the equal largest shareholder, though that position has since been diminished by subsequent share issues and now represents 7.46% of issued shares.

The Jags Trust can confirm that we have not been approached with reference to our shareholding which, in any event, cannot be sold.

We will continue to monitor this situation and have communicated with the Club as representatives of a body of supporters with a significant shareholding, seeking an early opportunity to meet with members of the Board to be briefed on the current position vis-a-vis any potential change of ownership of The Club.

It has now been agreed with the Board that such a meeting will be held at a mutually convenient date as soon as can be arranged.

We hope that it will be possible, thereafter, to provide our membership and the wider support with some definitive, rather than speculative information.

A similar dialogue with representatives of those seeking to gain ownership of The Club is being sought subject to their identity being confirmed.

Morag McHaffie
Chairperson: The Jags Trust & Chairperson Supporters Direct Scotland

Jags Trust Board Statement

Office Bearers of The Jags Trust (the trading name of The Partick Thistle Supporters Association) have been aware of the ongoing speculation regarding a potential takeover of our Club.

We have also read the statement recently released  by PTFC Ltd.

After Save The Jags,  1,000,000 B Shares allocated to The Jags Trust made supporters the equal largest shareholder though that position has since been diminished by subsequent share issues.

The Jags Trust can confirm that we have not been approached with reference to our shareholding which, in any event, cannot be sold.

We will continue to monitor this situation and will attempt to liaise with the Club to ensure that members, and indeed all  Thistle fans, are in possession of as much accurate information as possible.

Morag McHaffie

Chairperson Jags Trust & Chairperson Supporters Direct Scotland

SDS AGM 2019

The first Annual General Meeting since the incorporation of Supporters Direct Scotland as a stand-alone organisation will be held at Oriam, Scotland’s National Sports Performance Centre, on Saturday the 22nd of June from 10.30am until noon. This AGM will review the first year of our activities as a locally incorporated Scottish organisation. Representatives of all member organisations, and individual associate members, are invited to attend.

The AGM will be held from 10.30am until noon, after which lunch will be provided and AGM attendees will be joined by other members of the Scottish Supporters Network for our annual Supporters’ Summit which will run from 1pm until 5pm.

The theme of this year’s summit will be Scottish fan culture, looking at what makes Scottish football distinctive – celebrating the good things, and also exploring some areas where our game receives unwelcome attention. The programme is still being finalised, but we hope to have sessions covering issues such as the recent policing review, supporter misconduct, the role of alcohol consumption in football cultures, responsible gambling, and the changes to the league structure / pyramid.

Tickets are now available free of charge via Eventbrite.

Space at Oriam is strictly limited, and tickets are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not apply for a ticket unless you definitely plan to attend!

Annual General Meeting - 6th April 2019

All members are invited to the Annual General Meeting of Partick Thistle Supporters Association (T/A “The Jags Trust”) which will take place on Saturday 6 April 2019 at 12pm.

The meeting will be held in the Chairman’s Lounge, in the Colin Weir Stand, entering from Firhill Road. We are delighted to say that our meeting will be opened by guest and speaker Gerry Britton PTFC Ltd Chief Executive and followed by the business matters of the AGM.

All paperwork will be made available in advance of the meeting in person, and will thereafter be available online.

Player of The Year - Presentation & Dance

Partick Thistle Supporters Association, trading as The Jags Trust

 

The end of the season is very busy for all related to Thistle but we are delighted to confirm that Archie and the Players will be in attendance at the supporters’ Player of the Season hosted by The Jags Trust and to be held at Firhill on Sunday 13 May 2018.

 

As is customary individual Supporters Branches will make presentations to their chosen player(s) and the evening will offer opportunities for supporters to chat to the season 2017-18 team and enjoy some dancing.

 

 Player of the Season 2017–2018 on Sunday 13 May 2018

Aitken Suite, The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill .

Doors open 7:30pm – 11:45pm.

Access by ticket only – ticket £10

 

Ticket Information

Access by ticket only - Tickets £10.

Tickets available from Members of the Jags Trust Committee, Conveners of the Supporters Branches, or arrange to meet Morag in the Jackie Husband Stand (seat Q80)

 

John Lambie

The Board and members of The Jags Trust send their sincere condolences to the Lambie Family.

It was with deep sadness that the football family received the news that John Lambie, a Thistle legend had died on 10 April 2018.

The mould was definitely broken when they made the man, the footballer, the manager and pigeon fancier. John Lambie was a larger than life character and everyone who rubbed shoulders with him had their own story to tell.

On Saturday 21 April 2018 The Jags Trust Board welcomes to Firhill, the Chairperson, Office Bearers and Committee of Hamilton Supporters Trust.

At this poignant moment it is very fitting that these two teams meet for the SPFL Premiership match at the Energy Check Stadium @Firhill.

Lambie steered Thistle through some agonising parts of our history but he also in true Thistle style experienced the triumphs.

 

Johnnie Lambie’s Red n Yellow Army!

 

The Chairperson, the Board and Members

Partick Thistle Supporters Association “The Jags Trust”.